The following are summaries of the top 10 most-read stories Greater Wilmington Business Journal online stories in 2021, the top spot taken by a WilmingtonBiz Magazine story about the Battleship North Carolina.
1. Ship Shape: Rebuilding the Battleship
In 2009, the U.S. Navy gave two directives: either make plans to scrap the USS North Carolina or set out to restore the World War II-era warship.
So launched the multi-year Generations Campaign to fund work on the aging vessel that racked up over $23 million in public and private funds.
Last year, the landmark celebrated its 60th year docked at the Cape Fear River spot. A hull repair project for the Battleship North Carolina wrapped up in 2021, leading into work to update the upper masts this year.
2. Developer buys 1,137 acres in Brunswick County
A developer bought more than 1,100 acres in southern Brunswick County that could one day hold hundreds of homes.
Thomasboro Landco LLC, an entity associated with Alabama-based Criteria Development, purchased 1,137 acres last year from Stone Farm Investment LLC and other LLCs of the Williamson family. The property, off Thomasboro Road and N.C. 179 near Calabash, sold for a little over $18 million, according to the deed.
A Criteria Development proposal for a project dubbed Stone Farm involves 1,009 acres that could contain nearly 1,800 homes, 363 townhomes and about 45 acres of commercial development.
3. New brewery coming to Market Street
Outer Dunes Brewing, a brewery and event space, announced that it would be occupying the property that formerly housed Liberty Tavern at 7976 Market St. in Wilmington.
Husband-and-wife team Phil and Ellie Mabe, both originally from the Cape Fear region, returned after a decade in the Lake Tahoe area, where they both worked at breweries in various capacities.
The Neal Family Qualified Trust purchased the 1.65-acre property near the end of January 2021 for a little over $1.5, million and the Mabes opened Outer Dunes Brewing in May.
4. Downtown restaurant announces temporary closure amid staffing challenges
The George on the Riverwalk, a restaurant at 128 S. Water St. in downtown Wilmington, announced a temporary closure during the summer last year because of a staffing shortage.
Like many area restaurants, The George had struggled to maintain normal business hours with a skeleton crew.
But the restaurant bounced back with its latest hours listed on its website, thegeorgerestaurant.com
5. Builder’s 10-year plan includes up to 5,000 homes in southern Pender
A Wilmington-based builder of houses, townhomes and apartments was planning in January last year to eventually own more than 1,200 acres in southern Pender for future development.
The holdings could result in the building of 5,000 for-rent and forsale residential units built over the next 10 years.
The purchases helped McAdams Homes deploy capital from the sales of Budget Storage, an apartment community in Lake Wylie, and Belle Meade, an apartment complex off Carolina Beach Road in Wilmington.
6. TRU Colors CEO issues statement about fatal shooting
TRU Colors CEO George Taylor issued a statement in July 2021 about the double homicide at his son’s house July 24 that included a victim connected to the brewery.
The two people killed were Koredreese Robert Tyson, 29, and Bri-yanna Emily Williams, 21. Another woman was taken to the hospital with injuries. In August, three people were arrested in connection with the slayings.
George Taylor in his statement described Tyson as a leader at TRU Colors, a for-profit brewery that hires Wilmington gang members and those involved in the gang community as a way to address street violence.
7. Tractor Supply Co. coming to Surf City
In early 2021, a developer purchased a little over 3 acres in Surf City for the site of a Tractor Supply Co. store.
Surf City Development Group LLC paid $530,000 for the property at 22761 U.S. 17 in the Pender County town.The development group is an affiliate of Baseline Development LLC, headquartered in Southern Pines. Long’s firm is a preferred developer for Tractor Supply.
The store, which has a Hampstead address, is currently open.
8. $6.4M home sale in Wrightsville Beach sets new all-time MLS record in New Hanover
The $6.4 million sale of a Wrightsville Beach home broke a previous record for the most expensive New Hanover County sale ever recorded in the local MLS.
The home at 915 S. Lumina Ave. sold May 10, according to a luxury market report by Wilmington-based Just For Buyers Realty.
While the sale broke a March record (see item below), it was eclipsed in November by the $6.42 million purchase of 513 S. Lumina Ave.
9. In Wrightsville Beach, home sells for $6M, breaking previous luxury record
The home at 831 S. Lumina Ave. in Wrightsville Beach sold March 19 for $6 million.
“For 15 years, the highest price on the books stood at $5,264,000 for a property that closed in August of 2005. That record was topped in September 2020 by roughly $13,000,” stated a news release from Just For Buyers Realty. “It was broken again the very next month by a house that sold for $5.5 million and that record was exceeded again in March.”
The South Lumina Avenue home on the oceanfront is 4,000 square feet and has six bedrooms.
10. Goodbye flea market, hello affordable apartments?
During the summer of 2021, plans were in the works for affordable housing to replace a flea market, formerly a drive-in theater, on Carolina Beach Road in Wilmington.
The project is a joint venture between Bradley Housing Developers and Kelley Development Co., two affordable/workforce housing developers active across North and South Carolina.
City and county officials approved granting nearly $5.5 million in American Rescue Plan funds after the developers requested gap financing.
The 278-unit apartment complex is expected to be affordable to households that make 60% of the area median income. Developers expect to break ground in late summer of this year.